New Google Webmaster Guidelines for 2012
At long last Google have updated their guidelines for webmasters (seo’s, internet marketers and anyone else who owns or manages a website), it’s been a long time coming but now they have there is much clearer explanation on most points, and a much better description of Rich Snippets. If you haven’t seen the new information it can be viewed here. There is a lot to read so make yourself a coffee, sit back and wade your way through it.
The bit I found somewhat confusing (as if it isn’t a confusing enough subject to start with) is about linking. They give a load of examples which are pretty straight forward, these include:
- Buying and selling links
- Excessive link exchanges
- Linking to spam sites
- Building partner pages for links
- Using automated software (or services) to build them
- Low quality directory submissions
To be fair, this is all pretty fundamental stuff and any SEO worth their salt knows that these techniques have had no, or very little impact for several years now anyway. Although it’s worth pointing out that I still believe it’s worth being listed in industry specific or local business directories, I discussed this here back at the start of the year.
One which is new news is the forum signature links, here’s what they say:
“Forum comments with optimized links in the post or signature, for example:
Thanks, that’s great info!
paul’s pizza – san diego pizza – best pizza san diego”
Whilst it’s been known for a very long time that forum signature links carry virtually no weight at all from an SEO perspective, they do drive traffic if they are on a forum which is on the same topic as your website, and after all, what would you be doing having a forum signature linking to an unrelated website anyway, it’s hardly going to get you any interested visitors. I’m quite active on a couple of the SEO forums myself and can see that when I help people out, or add a particularly relevant post, rather than just general chit-chat, they do get some clicks. So I am a bit confused why Google would consider this a bad practice, especially considering the vast majority are nofollow.
Anyway, there are sections to clarify all the basics regarding web design and basic optimisation, these include the canonical tag, mobile, using video, along with all the old (but updated) favourites such as meta tags, redirects and doorway pages.
So if you are designing or optimising a site, it’s worth getting an understanding of Googles take on all the things you may have heard before, as some things are new and others have changed over the years.